Joe Maddon Trolls Miguel Cabrera by Bradley Woodrum July 1, 2013 BACKSTORY: After the Detroit Tigers acquired the final out against the Tampa Bay Rays last Friday, third baseman Miguel Cabrera mimed appeared to mime, but may not have mimed the signature “arrow shot” Rays closer Fernando Rodney performs after each save (a gesture that appears to be an oblique tribute to his late father). On Saturday, Miguel Cabrera faced Fernando Rodney and the Katniss-esque flamethrower had a few pitches go high, one going high and tight. Cabrera did not appreciate the pitches. On Sunday, Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello of the 4.7% BB-rate hit his second batter of the season. It was with two outs in the first inning; it was the first pitch to Ben Zobrist. Both dugouts received a warning. Then, in the bottom of the 8th, Miguel Cabrera came to the plate. JOE MADDON, THUGGIN’: Joe Maddon had two relievers warning. He had his 8th inning setup man, Joel Peralta, warming in the ‘pen. He had his hard-throwing karate-master, brawl-champ, GIF-via-fight machine Kyle Farnsworth warming. Kyle Farnsworth entered to face Miggy. Then this happened: Your browser does not support iframes. Let us put aside Miggy’s career numbers against Farnsworth (which lean in Miggy’s favor) and likewise put aside Miggy’s career splits against GB/FB pitcher-types (which weigh in Farnsworth’s favor, especially over extreme FB pitcher Joel Peralta). Let us put those items in a separate bucket and consider the message of this matchup. Maddon brought in his enforcer and then did what he always does: Break the unwritten rules. He has historically shown a predisposition against HBP arms races, and he furthered that reputation on Sunday. Like a mobster who shows a pistol but does not look at or talk bout the firearm, Maddon opened the door for fear to enter Cabrera’s mind (see how Cabrera twists in, anticipating a beanball on the first pitch from Farnsworth) and also blasted a message to Tigers manager Jim Leyland. It would appear the two managers play different games. Maddon saved his more direct, less-nuanced messages for the post-game interview: [Miguel Cabrera] is outstanding, he’s wonderful. I just wish he wouldn’t cry so much. If that’s not MLB-level trolling, then what is?